With a sign that inviting, you can't help but get excited about what new project awaits you when entering the threshold into Mrs. Engelking's elementary art room! Come peek with me into the project we created and the time I spent in south-eastern Wisconsin April 9-10th, 2018.
I was approached in January about doing a school-wide felting project with her, and right away I began asking questions to start planning a proposal:
- How many students? A: 350 from K-6 grade
- What's your scheduling like/ do you have flexibility A: We're flexible in a day and a half timeframe
- What size/ scale are you thinking? A: Budget dependent, we decided 4' x 8' finished size nuno felt
- What are some themes or ideas you'd like to see incorporated? A: We're in North Prairie, WI so.... prairie?
Typically when approached by elementary schools, I go straight away to wet felting. She wanted to do some needle felting, as her older kids had gotten lucky and been doing some in their classes already. I told her I would work on a proposal and a sketch.
When I start brainstorming, all those factors from the questions and their answers will be building blocks in how we put together a fun, successful and inspiring cooperative fiber art project. Each one I've done is different than the other. I LOVE the challenge of that and the more I've done, the more I've learned and been able to apply to the next project.
I broke down the design into components for each grades with a wet day (did I say wet! I mean WET!) followed by a blissful dry day of needle felting.
- Kindergarten - Clouds and Sky
- 1st- Blending of colors for grass
- 2nd- Blending of colors for water
- 3rd - Felted grasses
- 4th- Rocks and Leaves
- 5th- Flower petals and assembly (needle felting)
- 6th- Sparkly bugs and assembly (needle felting)
We arranged to have each grade rotate through the art room, divided into three, 12-minute stations. One station the kids got to watch our dvd about the animals, shearing and art made with the fiber. Then, they traveled to the teacher's station where they made an individual component for the art piece. Last, they came to my station, where we put those pieces on, did agitation, and talked about my art. It all ran very smoothly, thanks to engaged teacher support and assistance, and some wonderful volunteers and terrific kids.
By the end of the wet day, we had used a BUNCH of towels which our awesome, helpful volunteer offered to take home and wash and we were wiped out! Despite it being very cold, I decided to trek around downtown Delafield, WI where I found some treasures...mostly window shopping...which I find equally enjoyable and far less dangerous! I also enjoyed a quiet dinner at The Seven Seas overlooking Lake Nagawicka.
The second day began with a wonderful breakfast at the lovely B&B I stayed at, Ped'lars Inn in Wales, WI . The owners were very accommodating to my crazy schedule of arriving late and leaving early and it was very charming. I highly recommend it!
The whole experience was terrific; wonderful people, beautiful creativity and breathtaking results! Here is the finished piece and a fabulous video about the entire project that Mrs. Engelking put together. Thank you Prairie Elementary for having me and for making beautiful art together!